The way you see your life shapes your life. How you define life determines your destiny. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships. One of the best ways to understand other people is to ask them, “How do you see your life”? You will discover that there are as many different answers to that question as there are people. I’ve been told life is a circus, a minefield, a roller coaster, a puzzle, a symphony, a journey, and a dance.
People have said, “Life is a carousel: Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, and sometimes you just go round and round” or “life is a ten-speed bicycle with gears we never use” or life is a game of cards: “You have to play the hand you are dealt”. If I asked how you picture life, what image would come to your mind? That image is your life metaphor. It’s the view of life that you hold, consciously or unconsciously, in your mind. It’s your description of how life works and what you expect from it.
People often express their life metaphors through clothes, jewelry, cars, hairstyles, bumper stickers, even tattoos. Your unspoken life metaphor influences your life more than you realize. It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, and your priorities. For instance, if you think life is a party, your primary value in life will be having fun. If you see life as a race, you will value speed and will probably be in a hurry much of the time. If you view life as a marathon, you will value endurance. If you see life as a battle or a game, winning will be very important to you.
What is your view of life? You may be basing your life on a faulty life metaphor. To fulfill the purposes God made you for, you will have to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with biblical metaphors of life. The Bible says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”-Romans 12:2
God’s view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment. This is the foundation of purpose driven living. God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his son Isaac. God tested Jacob when he had to work extra years to earn Rachel as his wife. Adam and Eve failed their test in the Garden of Eden, and David failed his tests from God on several occasions. But the Bible also gives us many examples of people who passed a great test, Such as Joseph, Ruth, Esther, and Daniel. Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of a trash, or when you’re polite toward a clerk or waitress or others.
We don’t know all the tests God will give us, but we can predict some of them, based on the Bible. You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies. In my own life I have noticed that God tests my faith through problems, tests my hope by how I handle possessions, and tests my love through people. A very important test is how you act when you can’t feel God’s presence in your life. Sometimes God intentionally draws back, and we don’t sense His closeness.
When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests are overwhelming, while others you don’t even notice. But all of them have eternal implications. The good news is that God wants you to pass the tests of life, so He never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace He gives you to handle them.
Every time you pass a test, God notices and make plans to reward you in eternity. James says, “Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him”– James 1:12. At the end of your life on earth you will be evaluated and rewarded according to how well you handled what God entrusted to you. That means everything you do, even simple daily chores, has eternal implications.
Most people fail to realize that money is both a test and a trust from God. God uses finances to teach us to trust Him, and for many people, money is the greatest test of all. God watches how we use money to test how trustworthy we are. The Bible says, “If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven”?-Luke 16:11-12 This is a very important truth. God says there is a direct relationship between how I use my money and the quality of my spiritual life. How I manage my money (“worldly wealth“) determines how much God can trust me with spiritual blessings (“true riches”).
Let me ask you: Is the way you manage your money preventing God from doing more in your life? Can you be trusted with spiritual riches? Jesus said, “‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” Luke 12:48 Life is a test and a trust, and the more God gives you, the more responsible He expects you to be.